Congress Transparently Shilling For Unions

The desire of the NEA to kill the DC Voucher program is well-covered, including by my co-contributor Doug here.

Now it seems that Congress has snuck in a provision for the Teamsters, to restrict Mexican truckers:

Buried in the $410 billion catch-all appropriations bill now before the U.S. Senate is a provision that would end a program that has allowed Mexican truck drivers to deliver goods to destinations inside the United States.

A provision in the original North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994 was supposed to allow U.S. and Mexican trucking companies to deliver goods in each other’s country. But opposition from the Teamsters union and old-fashioned prejudice against Mexicans has derailed implementation of the provision.

Under current restrictions, goods coming into the United States from Mexico by truck must be unloaded inside the “commercial zone” within 20 miles or so of either side of the border and transferred to U.S.-owned trucks for final delivery. U.S. goods going to Mexico face the same inefficient and unnecessary restrictions.

The Bush administration established a pilot program that allows certain Mexican trucking companies that meet U.S. safety and other standards to deliver goods directly to U.S. destinations, while the Mexican government has agreed to allow reciprocal access to its market. But the Democratic Congress and the new Democratic president have vowed to finally kill the program, and the provision inside the appropriations bill will probably deliver the final blow.

As I argued in an article in 2007, the Mexican trucks that have been allowed to operate in the United States under the pilot program have actually had a better safety record than U.S. trucks.

It’s not about safety, and the added inefficiency of transferring everything from one truck to another 20 miles inside the border shows that it’s not about reducing prices for consumers. So this is nothing but bald-faced protectionism to reward unions.

I guess someone in Congress didn’t read that Hope and Change memo, eh?

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